Romans 1: 24-27
I invite you to turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Romans, chapter 1 and follow along as I read verses 24-27.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves,
25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural,
27 and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.
Amen. The word of God. Thanks be to God.
Last week, The Herald published a story (“Baptist panel: Church Should Go,” August 6‚ 2005) about how the York Baptist association and the Southern Baptist Convention are dissolving ties with Oakland Baptist Church in Rock Hill, SC because of remarks the church’s pastor made about homosexuality. The accusation is that Rev. Robert Shrum made anti-biblical statements condoning homosexuality when he spoke against a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
This dispute among Baptists shows that homosexuality remains a hot issue, and not only in the Baptist church. Two years ago, the Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop. The Herald yesterday ran an article (“Lutherans Reject Leeway on Active Gay Clergy” August 13, 2005) about Lutherans rejecting a proposal that would have allowed gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy in some cases.
The Associate Reformed Presbyterian position is found in the paragraph I have included in the bulletin.
“Today, many seem to be caught in the web of homosexual practices and thought-patterns. In Christian love, we declare that God’s Word clearly forbids homosexual practice as a sin against God. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we affirm our obligation to show Christian love and concern for homosexuals, and call them to repentance, cleansing, and deliverance in the saving power of Jesus Christ.”
(Minutes of the General Synod, 1977, p. 444)
As the statement points out, we are not against homosexual people. We are against homosexual practices. To put that more generally, we are not against people, we are against sin. The Bible consistently condemns homosexual acts as sin.
In Genesis chapter 19, we have the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. God sent two angels to the city of Sodom. They did not appear to be angels, just men, and as they approached the gates of the city, Lot met them and invited them to spend the night in his home. At first, the angels said they would just camp out that night in the public square. But Lot knew only too well the wickedness of the Sodomites, and he finally convinced the angels to stay with him. But the Sodomites found out that strangers were in town and that night a great crowd of men surrounded Lot’s house, and demanded that Lot produce these two strangers, so that they could “know” them, that is so that they could have homosexual relations with them.